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. ring and crosier, and also by the oath of fealty which they took, were dependent on the secular power. Gregory now prescribed in. vestitures, took from princes the right of naming, confirming, and deposing bishops, and abolished the requisition of oaths of fealty and military services.
• It was by no means, however, the object of the Pope to render the clergy independent, for his aim was to transfer to himself the dependance in which they had hitherto been kept by others. By means of the false Decretals, he arrogated a plenitude of power in all spiritual matters; he undermined the jurisdiction of the bishops, by allowing appeals to Rome in the first instance ; and he reserved to himself and his legates exclusively, the right of judging and deposing bishops, which had hitherto been lodged in provincial synods. In a council at Rome, he appointed a new oath besides, that of canonical obedience, by which the bishops were obliged to swear fealty and homage liege to him. He introduced the practice of sending niore frequently his lrgates into the kingdoms and states of Christendom; and these ministers drew into their cognizance all matters, which hitherto had come within that of metropolitans and provincial synods. The bishops also were obliged, by a clause in their paths to the Pope, to provide for the subsistence of the legates. As supreme head of the church, he claimed a right of superintendence over sovereigns and their governments; and he received the complaints of subjects, and undertook to judge between them and their rulers. In 1076, he cited the Emperor Henry IV. to Rome, to answer to the heads of accusation preferred ajjainst him by some Saxon lords with whom he had quarrelled : but the Emperor, resenting this outrage, in a council whicli he convoked deposed the Pope; while the holy father, in return, deposed and excommunicated the Emperor. The result is well known, the Pope triumphed, and the successor of the Cesars was obliged in the depth of writer to cross the Alps, and do penance for three days successively with bare feet in the court of the castle of Canossa, where his holiness was then residing wirh the Countess Matilda; and to sign whatever the haughty Pontiff was pleased to prescribe. Gregory held all soverigns to be his vassals, and sought to render them his tributaries. He announced his claims to the French monarch and the princes of Spain, and obliged or induced weaker princes to submit to his pretensions.
'H's successors followed in his steps, and supported his maxims and pretensions; and the consequence was, that a great many sovereign prinpps, dreading the thunder of the church, or standing in need of the protection of the holy see, submitted by degrees to the new power of the P«pe. The kings of the two Sicilies, of Portugal, of Arragon, of England, of Scotland, and of Sardinia, and a great many others, became the vassals and tributaries of the holy sec ; and we can scarcely doubt that an universal monarchy, the plan of which had been conceived by this Pontiff, would have been fully established; if certain of his successors had possessed his genius and jus extensive views. The character of the age, and the circumstances ci the times, favqure.<J the project.'
M. Koch then shews, in his concise and perspicuous manner, the influence of the barbarism of the age, the gross superstition of the people, the weakness of the royal authority, contentions between Icings and v.issals, and the particular situation of Germany, in promoting the designs of the Court of Rome; the only one that was capable of framing and of following any system of policy.—His account of this curious and unique revolution is the most succinct, as well as tho most clear and satisfactory, of any with which' we are acquainted. * .
We have selected our extracts from the more early periods, because the pre-eminence of this work chiefly respects them; as it advances to later times, it suffers from the reduced scale on which it proceeds; and recognizing the ability of the master, we wish that this plan had been more enlarged as the narrative descended. In regard to style, and the choice of terms, this performance, though in every view respectable, is certainly susceptible of improvement.
Aaf. XI. VIrtnide, Odi Anacreonticht di Silvio Ireneo, P. A. !2mo. pp. 230. Payne, Pall Mall. Loudon. 1807.
Had we not read the reflections prefixed to this series of odes, we should have fancied that they were merely intended to celebrate the kindness and the treachery of a mistress: but their author, it seems, wishes it to be understood that they exhibit an allegorical picture of the progress of the passions, especially of that of love. The first interview, the advice, the departure, the return, spring, summer, autumn, remonstrance, jealousy, revenge, despair, Sic. furnish so many titles to the respective pieces, which at the same time form a whole. The measure, which is that which was adopted by Savioli in his Amort, and Imperiali in his Faonide, is managed throughout with considerable felicity and effect: but the spirit of Anacreon has not presided at the composition of the Irenide; and we search in vain for his playful gaiety of soul, and his amiable and terse naivetiol expression. The author's countrymen, we have reason to believe, will not be displeased with this little performance, and may perhaps welcome it as a specimen of classical taste and elegance: but our land of fogs, the maturity of our years, and the sober routine of our vocation, have doubtless conspired to weaken our interest in Irene, even before she proves faithless, and to make us tire of Silvio's incessant wailing, before he endeavours to vindicate the crime of suicide. Yet the whole is allegorical, and in course harmless; on wbicb point, indeed,
it is necessary to be explicit, lest honest John Bull should fancy the concluding autumnal scene to be rather too vivid and glowing.
The general execution of these odes is so equal in respect of merit, that we cannot easily fix on particular quotations; and, as we understand that the author, who writes under his Arcadian name, is a Neapolitan patriot of birth and education, and has known better days, we trust that many generous Britons will read (or at least purchase) the whole. Meanwhile, by way of sample, we shall present them with the opening of a summer morning:
* Ue come i raggi scorrono
Con qua! grundtzxa e/evasi
4 Come il color diffbndesi'
Sul nostra cerchio a un Iratla!
'Con occhio formidable
Mira it granile jistro i campi,
* Guarda quelfor, che scbiudesi
Come ingiallisce, incurvasi,
The piece intitled // Giuramento contains some pretty stanzas, but is too much protracted, and too much incumbered with allegorical personages.
Before we take leave of our Arcadian shepherd, we cannot avoid expressing a wish that he would tune his reed to the description of natural scenery, or to the themes of real life; which, in all ages and countries, are topics adapted to the understand* ings and feelings of men. 1
Aut. XII. Eloge de Corneille; i. e. the Eulogy of Corneittr. 8va. pp. 43. Printed by Da Fonte, London.
Perhaps in no branch of poetry is it so difficult for one nation to form an impartial opinion concerning the writings of another, as in the dramatic. In that department alone every individual becomes a critic; and thus a standard of national taste is formed, from which it is almost impossible to deviate without offence. At the same time, the expressions of natural 11 feeling
feeling come home to every breast; and hence many of onr countrymen, even of those who dislike the technical structure of the French drama, can enjoy to the fullest extent the peculiar beauties of Ratine, while few, if any, can enter into or even comprehend the grounds on which our neighbours build their admiration of his illustrious rival, Corneille. From this circumstance, we might be inclined, without farther examination, to give a most decided preference to the former; inasmuch as the eloquence which speaks to all mankind must be superior to that of which the effects are restricted to a particular society of men. Yet here again the reflection that Shakspeare himself,—who is so completely the master of our hearts and judgments, and whose knowlege and descriptions of nature so far exceed the works of the most exquisite artists in the same line cf painting,—is disliked by many and scarcely understood by one of our national rivals, forces us to withdraw the judgment which we wete. about to pronounce; and to acknowlcge the truth of the old unsatisfactory pioverb, "De gustibus non tst iisputonium."
Convinced ourselves of this musty truth, we shall not on the present occasion pretend to be dogmatic judges in a province over which we believe ourselves to have no jurisdiction, but shall generally be contented with the humbler office of faithfully reporting the decision of one who professes himself to be competent. The critic before us is an intelligent and agreeable man; and.underthe present scarcity of foreign communications, it may not be unpleasant to hear what surh a Frenchman says of the father of the dramatic art in his Own country. If in any of Jii? observations he should be found to tread in the footsteps of Voltaire and other dnm itic judges who have gone before him, we must ask pardon for the intrusion: but, if we do not mistake, some of his remarks at least possess much original good sense apd taste; enough to justify the unusual degree of attention which we shall pay to so small a publication, considering the circumstances of distress under which we labour.
For reasons foreign to literature, this essay, it seems, has not been admitted to the competition for the prize lately offered by the National Institute of France for the best eulogy on Corneille, to which it was destined. 'A comparison of the work itself,' says the writer, • with those which have obtained the suffrage of that assembly, may perhaps discover which has most deserved it.' We have it hot in our power to institute this comparison: but from a perusal of the present little pamphlet we are much inclined to imagine that, in the rejection of it, the members of that learned body did not consult their ewn impartial judgments so much, as some private motives, 12 witb with the nature of which we are unacquainted. It is certainly written with a freedom of style, an energy of sentiment, and a soundness of critical judgment, which it is not often our . lot to discover in the favoured prize essays of our own country. •
The author thu9 exprfsses his own conception of the task which he has undertaken; and though the conclusion savours of what we are apt to call affectation and finery, we shall quote indifferently what we approve and what we dislike iri the essay:
■ Many men of letters, worthy to be the judges of Corneille. have already pronounced their opinions respecting1 liim. I shall follow these venerable guides with all the deference due to their authority, and shall deem myself happy whenever it is in my power to be only their organ : but I shall nevertheless allow myself to dissent at times from the judgments which they have expressed, because it is my own suffrage which it is ray lot to give, and not theirs; and because, after so many portraits have been drawn of this great man, I think that it is still possible to place him in a new light.
'Among the judges of Corneifle. we find Corneille himself, the rigid censor of his own works, and the most judicious legislator of the dramatic art. Sublime poet! why can I not, in order to represent thee here in all thy literary majesty, borrow thy illuminations, the depth, the justice, of thine ideas, the energy of thy style? Yet 6urely, if love, respect, veneration, and enthusiasm, foT exalted characters, were sufficient to celebrate them in a manner worthy of them, no man could fulfil better than my?elf this noble, this sacred duty. But, to seize and display lofty and sublime conceptions, is it not necessary that we should elevate our own to the same degree of ex illation? Whatever fear the idea ought to inspire, I shall dare, with a hand enfeebled by age and misfortune, to offer up my incense; and how imperfect soever may be the worship, at least one knee more will have bowed before the altars of genius.'
If this last metaphor should sound a little irreverent to some of our countrymen, and to deserve the censure of " the Society for the Suppression of Vice," If is nothing to a Frenchman ;— and here again is a pregnant proof of the axiom before quoted. It is ridiculous enough that, while our neighbours are constantly abusing us for the extravagance of our fancies, we are condemning them with equal gravity for the extravagance of their expressions. We are both perfectly right according to our own principles and prejudices, hut extremely wrong in affecting to make those principles the guides of our judgment on one another.
The first subject of consideration introduced by this essayist is « the degree of importance of the tragic drama, and the direction given to it by Corneille.' Th« universality, or rather,